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There's been quite a bit of fuss recently about Tynt, a new web 2.0 site which many accused of scraping content. But how much should anyone worry about a site with no apparent business model?

The digital sector can often be a very insular community and, as part of that, the worlds of social media and SEO are no different. As someone who works in both of these sectors, which often overlap, it can often feel like living in a goldfish bowl in an echo chamber: as more and more people say the same thing we all start to believe what's being said and to believe that what's being talked about matters in the real world.

This was demonstrated recently by Ted Dziuba when he shot down a lot of the hype that had started to surround Google's new browser Chrome (PS: if you're offended by strong language, you may not want to read his post). And the thought struck me whilst reading a lot of the furore about new web 2.0 site Tynt.

According to its blurb, the site: 'lets you share the web as YOU see it. Tynters add notes, speech bubbles, stickers, animation, drawings and more to web content'.

However many in the SEO world felt that it was nothing more than a scraper site, stealing traffic from other web businesses. I won't go into all the details here but you can get a pretty good overview on search marketing forum Sphinn: suffice to say that Tynt appeared to be allowing search engines to index content from other sites under its own domain.

Following the posts about Tynt its CEO responded to the criticism and said that they were working hard to resolve the complaints. While I don't doubt the sincerity of the team at Tynt, or those worried about the impact it could have on their own sites, it does make me wonder whether we in the digital world shouldn't take a step back every so often and take a look at the bigger picture.

Tynt for example strikes me as a very strange site. I'm sure that I'm not the target audience but even so I just can't see it going mainstream and making a huge impact. I'm sure that for lots of people the idea of being able to graffiti a website is the most fun they'll have with their clothes on, but I'm also pretty sure that I've seen plenty of very similar sites in the past.

A quick look at its traffic stats suggests that I might not be too far off the mark (that said, I've been wrong on many occasions in the past and I'm sure that I will be again in the future).

As sites such as YouTube and Facebook - with huge audiences - struggle to sufficiently monetise their traffic, you have to wonder how something like Tynt will satisfy its investors.

And without wishing to sound like Drama 2.0 MKII, I can't help wondering whether, with the financial world in a state of severe trauma, worrying about web 2.0 startups is a bit like fretting about a mosquito bite whilst a shark nibbles at your ankles.

Ciaran Norris

Published 18 September, 2008 by Ciaran Norris

12 more posts from this author

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Aaron

Isn't having a clear and concise niche appeal what Web 2.0 is all about? I live online in marketing, developing and writing, but this has no value to me (or for anyone that I can honestly think of).

Niche is a term we love to mean specialized - but there still has to be an audience. I'm not seeing them.

about 8 years ago

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Boris

I couldn't agree more with you. While I don't doubt that tynt will find an audience (it's a silly time-waster and therefore, an internet surefire) I do think that sometimes SEO's need to pull back and realize that most people have no idea what Twitter is.

about 8 years ago

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Adam

If an investor has pumped money into this, how can Tynt possibly be monetized in any useful way? I would've liked to have sat in on that proposal.

I suppose McDonalds or Starbucks could offer up their logos for people to place all over their "Tyntified" pages.... but does anyone find joy in attaching brand names to Web pages? This tool is just silly.

Well, if I'm wrong....
<mouth>insert foot</mouth>

about 8 years ago

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Richard Schramm

Your Compete graph is from before their launch.

I do agree that you've been wrong on many occasions in the past and this may be an indicator.

about 8 years ago

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Ciaran

Richard,

Whilst I'm not a big fan of using Alexa data I thought I'd check it out to see if it gave the same picture - it does:

http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/tynt.com

Checking for the site on Google's Website Trends provides no data which doesn't exactly suggest that it's setting the world on fire:

http://trends.google.com/websites?q=tynt.com&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

Whilst you're right to agree that I have indeed been wrong in the past, just as you are by suggesting that data from August is 'from before their launch' (they launched on June 30th - http://blog.tynt.com/2008/06/30/tynt-lifts-the-curtain/), I'm still not convinced that this is going to be another such occasion.

Cheers,

Ciarán

about 8 years ago

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Richard Schramm

>>Whilst I'm not a big fan of using Alexa data I thought I'd check it out to see if it gave the same picture - it does:

Actually, Alexa gave the opposite picture. Google doesn't have enough data gathered in the first two weeks. As noted, these sorts of third-party statistics are often dubious.

>>August is 'from before their launch' (they launched on June 30th

No, the publicized launch was around the middle of September and the cited graph reflects this.

about 8 years ago

Ciaran Norris

Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare

Hi Richard,

I'm well aware that 3rd party traffic stats are very dubious (I've even written about that exact issue - http://www.altogetherdigital.com/20080805/lies-damned-lies-technorati/), but they're all I've got in this instance.

When I said that Alexa showed the same picture I meant that it seems to show an initial surge in interest followed by a large drop-off: http://tinyurl.com/3s2vav.

Cheers,

Ciaran

about 8 years ago

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Richard Schramm

>> When I said that Alexa showed the same picture I meant that it seems to show an initial surge in interest followed by a large drop-off: http://tinyurl.com/3s2vav.

I realize that. When I said it showed the opposite, I meant it showed a flatline all summer and coincidentally shot up as soon as it launched (which is only logical.)

about 8 years ago

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Vince

I think it's a usful way to communicate feedback on web projects or content

about 8 years ago

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David

Certainly has a myriad of useful possibilities. The basic idea is to add context to posted links, whether they are emailed, posted, tweeted, syndicated or whatever. Very cool!

The original furor over "scraping" has died down as it was completely off-the-mark. No need to worry about a scraper site that doesn't scrape! ;)

about 8 years ago

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Lucille Gaines

The future is now? Looks like this is way outdated.

about 8 years ago

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